Ryan was born in Sydney and trained at the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne. In 1998 he joined Meryl Tankard's Australian Dance Theatre, performing repertoire extensively throughout Australia, Europe, Japan, America and the Middle East. He then worked with Garry Stewart's company Thwack, performing Plastic Space on the Made to Move tour. He has worked with the Douglas Wright Dance Company in New Zealand, performing Inland for the Wellington Festival, ending the season with a national tour. Ryan also performed Funky and Freezing with Dance Works in Melbourne. With Phillip Adams' Balletlab he has performed Upholster, Amplification and The Nativity for the 2003 Melbourne Festival. Light and Shade is Ryan's second production with Tasdance having joined the company for the 2003 regional tour of Treasured Island in Tasmania and Victoria.